So that leaves one movie for which to really base her career on, and that one film is about as memorable as a movie can get. That of course being the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, where her portrayal as the main character, Scout, manages to not only match Gregory Peck's Oscar winning performance, but often upstage him as well.
It's hard to find a person that doesn't love this movie and Mary Badham's natural characterization is one of the many reasons for the success of that film. She had the rare ability to make the audience forget they were watching an actor, which seems like a lost art form in the movies and television shows of today.
Mary Badham retired from acting as a teenager and one can't help but wonder that if she had stayed in the profession, what other opportunities would she have gotten. She would have seemed an obvious choice for the role of Mattie Ross in the John Wayne version of True Grit. And as she aged she would have fit in well in many of the films that helped make Sally Field a star, like Norma Rae and Places in the Heart.
Of course these are things we'll never know, and one of the many reasons why Mary Badham is Not Very Famous...but should be.